War II, my dad, Lawrence Ward learned watch repair and became a registered
chronograph technician. He then began doing watch repair work for several
stores in southeastern Idaho.
In 1950 he began Ward's Jewelers in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Leasing a section of Fawson's Music Store for his location. I remember, as
a small child, going to the store and helping to clean the glass showcases
for dad and mom as well as listening to records in the many listening
booths at Fawson's Music Store.
Tiring of the harsh winters in Idaho, dad started
looking for other locations. In February of 1955 he found an ad in a
jewelers magazine for a store that was for sale in Fallbrook, California.
We drove the winding and narrow highways (there were no freeways) from
Idaho through the deserts to Fallbrook - that was one of the longest,
coldest, trips I can remember. We left during a blizzard and dad had to
have a head bolt heater put in the car to keep the engine from freezing
overnights. It was wonderful to arrive in the warm of southern California.
Dad made an agreement with Mr. Thomas of Thomas' Jewelers in Fallbrook and
we returned to Idaho to close things out up there.
In May of 1955, with snow still on the ground we left
Idaho, another long drive as far as an 8-year-old was concerned, arriving
in Fallbrook during the Pioneer Days Festival we began our new life here.
Our first location was 110 South Main, in Fallbrook.
Dad had been taking courses from the Gemological
Institute of America, and became a Graduate Gemologist, later through the
American Gem Society he was rated as a Certified Gemologist, Registered
Jeweler, and we had a fully Accredited Gem Laboratory in the store.
In 1959 we moved to a larger location at 113 North Main,
in Fallbrook, with the expanded shop and display areas we began more of
our own manufacturing. I was gradually being given more responsibility,
learning to clean and polish jewelry and beginning to learn to engrave.
When I was in Potter Junior High, I purchased my first engraving machine
by working for a penny a letter and putting the rest toward the cost of
the machine. Later, I purchased a larger machine by doing the same thing.
And, I made my spending money at a penny a letter.
I attended Fallbrook
Union High School, class of 1965; I'm sure many of my friends thought
that I never had any fun because I went to work at the store nearly every
afternoon. But during those years, I participated on the rifle team (yes,
we had guns at school), the color guard (raising the Flag daily at school
and presenting the Flag before games and during Avocado Festival parades).
I put many miles on a unicycle up and down Fallbrook's streets (it took me
quite a while to earn the money for that unicycle, I mowed many yards for
50-cents a job). I bought my first motorcycle in 1964 by selling a coin
from my collection, I don't ride much anymore but I have put lots of miles
on my bikes.
After high school I went to Palomar College. To earn
some extra spending money, a friend and I started a street sweeping
business in downtown Fallbrook. Each morning before we left for school we
would sweep both sides (including the gutters) of the two blocks of
merchants downtown. I think we only got 50-cents or a dollar a week from
each merchant, but that kept us in gas (25-cents a gallon) so we could get
to school, and…. I continued working at the store as my time would
During my time at Palomar College, I became "The
PsychOdelic Maniac", my light show company traveled around the
Southern California area with such memorable bands as the THE GROOP, THE
PLASTIC PEOPLE and THE RAMPANT AVOCADO. Liquid projection was just about
the messiest thing I've ever done. I also, began learning about sound
reinforcement while working with the bands. I participated on the Palomar
College Archery Team, during their championship years of 1966-67.
I then began my time away from Fallbrook, as I moved to
San Diego to attend San Diego State, my reputation in lights and sound
preceded me. And I was recruited by Campus Life to help make a
moving-light theater marquee style sign as well as running sound for their
concerts. My senior year at San Diego State, I received my
"Greetings" from the Selective Service, I then spent 3-years in
continue in next column
|I was in
Vietnam during 1970, working with Computer Systems Command, as a supply
and maintenance computer specialist. In 1971-72 I was at Fort Hood, TX
working as a company clerk and battalion legal clerk. During 1970, my
parents again moved the store to a larger location at 1034 South Main
Street in Fallbrook.
I returned to Fallbrook in 1972 and went to work again
at the jewelry store with my parents. During this time I again became
involved with music - this time a Christian group called Any Day Now, they
had heard of my experience with sound reinforcement and asked for my help.
We toured the West Coast and played at the Worlds Fair in Spokane,
Washington. It was in this group that I met my, then future, wife Karen.
During the mid '70s, I was working at the jewelry store
during the week and touring with Any Day Now on weekends. I was learning
more designing and repair as well as management skills.
In 1978, I married Karen Wise. Our love of our Lord
Jesus Christ and His music soon had us again actively involved in a music
ministry program. At the jewelry store we were again beginning to expand -
we took over two more spaces in our building and totally remodeled the
store, enlarging our shop area as well as our display area. I began taking
courses from the Gemological Institute of America at this time.
During the 1980s, I became more involved with the
running of the jewelry store, and at the same time I spent many weekends
and nights actively involved in the recording of eleven albums with
Calvary Chapel of Fallbrook. I have been engineering the sound/recording
at Calvary Chapel of Fallbrook since 1979 and have recently helped them in
the design and installation of new systems for their new sanctuary.
During the 70s and 80s, my brother David, worked with us
at the jewelry store as a designer/repairman, while he was here we
purchased a lot of new shop equipment. I had to learn a lot of new things
when he married and moved out of the area.
In 1997 I took over the store, my dad wanted to retire
and do some traveling. Shortly after he purchased a motorhome my
mother had a severe stroke and wasn't able to travel. She was the
one who had wanted to keep coming to the store and it wound up the other
way around as she became homebound, so he came daily to help with the
The summer of 2000 brought about a new chapter for
Ward's Jewelers, the property where we had been located at for the
previous 30 years had been sold and all of the tenants there including
Ward's Jewelers lost their leases. We found a new location in the
community of Bonsall (about 6 miles south of our previous location) and
spent the summer remodeling for a new store at the RiverVillage Shopping
Center in Bonsall, and the new store opened just before Christmas.
Six months later we endured more changes as dad suddenly
passed away, and I added taking care of my mother to my life.
The move to Bonsall has been good for our business, in spite of the things
of the economy and the difference in the world since 9/11/2001.
Karen's life has also been turned into a caregiver as
her dad developed Alzheimer's and her mom's health isn't good.
The past several years I have managed to find a bit of
time to do some website work for our church and a couple of other
commercial accounts. Recently, due to many e-mail requests from all
around the world, I have been re-mastering for CD, from the original
tapes, the eleven
albums we recorded nearly 25-years ago.
More change as we have now lost all of our parents, the things we
thought were in order -weren't, so it seem like we spent all of our time
moving things and doing paperwork.
Times continue to change and with the economy in turmoil the past couple
of years, the decision was finally made to close the retail storefront
that we have had for so many years. But, we are not going out of business.
- Our inventory will become available on our website.
- I will continue providing jewelry design and repair
services on an appointment basis.
- I will continue providing watch repair and watch
battery service: quality watch repair will be by appointment and
I am working with a few locations to become drop off points for watch
Our tradition as quality jewelers continues! But,
now I'll get a little bit of home time.
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